PARIS – Reporters Without Borders on Tuesday urged Mexican authorities to release four journalists arrested while covering a protest against President Enrique Peña Nieto’s education overhaul.
“We call for the immediate release of these four journalists and the withdrawal of the charges against them,” the Paris-based group, known by the initials RSF, said in a statement.
“Their only crime was trying to do their duty as reporters and guarantee the public’s right to information,” RSF said of Gustavo Ruiz Lizarraga, Pavel Alejandro Primo Noriega, Estela Morales and Alejandro Amado Fraustro.
The arrests at Sunday demonstration in Mexico City “recall the tumultuous start to President Peña’s term, when two photographers, Mircea Topoleanu and Brandon Daniel Bazan, were arrested during demonstrations on 1 December (2012),” RSF noted.
Ruiz Lizarraga, a photographer with the alternative news agency SubVersiones, was shoved into a police wagon while filming the cops arresting protesters.
Before being taken into custody, he handed his camera to a colleague and the video footage he captured “provided evidence of the police abuses and disproved the accusation that have been made against the detained journalists,” RSF said.
All four journalists have been charged with endangering public order, obstructing authorities, fabricating and carrying objects for the purpose of violence and resisting arrest.
Daniel Cruz, a photographer for capital daily Milenio, was struck by police even though he identified himself as a journalist, according to RSF. EFE